Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Durham, Burlington
A Member of Grapevine’s Family since August, 2003
Born and raised in Seattle, Darren made his way to North Carolina in August of 1985 on a soccer scholarship to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. With a double major in Political Science and Philosophy, he naturally immersed himself in the thriving restaurant scene. Hired by godfather-restauranteur Bill Neal in 1990 for the salad and dessert station, Darren found himself cooking on the line at Crook’s Corner just two weeks later.
Over the course of 10 years–interrupted occasionally by cross-country trips, study in Paris, and other odd jobs–he performed every duty at Crook’s in the back and front of the house, from cook, to sous chef, to waiter and bartender, and eventually general manager. Along the way a natural curiosity in wine developed, and Darren took pride in knowing the wine list backwards and forwards.A year and a half stint at Durham’s phenomenal Four Square Restaurant served as the perfect forum for further advancing Darren’s wine and culinary knowledge.
Then came Grapevine!
Darren was especially excited by the opportunity to sell a fantastic array of Washington and Oregon wineries and get back in touch with his Northwest roots, but was also thrilled by Grapevine’s comprehensive portfolio.
“I feel that being in the wine business is constantly exciting and challenging. Wine is such a constant in the human experience and a truly all-encompassing subject–history, cultural tradition, chemistry, artistry, mystery, politics, agriculture, you name it. I love the fact that you can learn something new about wine every day until you die and you probably won’t even get halfway there. I tend to eschew wine trends. I don’t care if it’s Chardonnay or Merlot, Godello or Zweigelt. As long as the wine has character and balance then put it in my glass and I will enjoy it. But if you’re going to force me to choose a wine at gunpoint, you’re probably gonna get Nebbiolo or Riesling. Good thing that never happens, though.”
- Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Napa, Sonoma, Carneros and Mendocino, California
- Barolo, Barbaresco, Bardolino, Valpolicella, Chianti Classico, Montalicino and Montepulciano, Italy
- Curico Valley and Maule Valley, Chile
- Mendoza – Lujan de Cuyo, Maipu and Uco Valley, Argentina
- Penedes, Montsant, Priorat, Carinena, Navarra and Ribera del Duero, Spain
- Rioja – To the Spanish Regions